Running down the middle of this popular urban park, the Exotic Trail traces a path through the exotic gardens of the former estate of Hugh Taylor Birch, Terramar. These tropical plants aren’t invasive, and they’re nicely identified along the first half of the circuit. There are more than 200 species on display. The Exotic Trail is a Boy Scout project, and connects to other unmarked trails in the park, enabling you to make loops of either 0.5 mile or 2 miles.
Location: Ft. Lauderdale Beach
Length: 0.5 to 2 miles
Lat-Long: 26.144842, -80.104500
Type: round-trip or loop
Fees / Permits: none
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: moderate
Restrooms are at the main parking area near the picnic benches and playground.
From I-95 Sunrise Blvd exit north of downtown, drive east on Sunrise over the Intracoastal Waterway. Turn left into the park entrance, 1 mile after you cross US 1.
Ask for an interpretive guide for the trail at the ranger station. Park in the last space on the left where parking parallels the picnic area and playground. Start at the picnic area near the giant banyan tree and walk north until you see the striped palm-like plants. The trail starts here.
Brown posts with yellow numbers correspond to the guide. The large holes you see belong to giant land crabs. The park is urban, but a lot of wildlife is afoot, including rabbits, raccoons, lizards, and squirrels. As the trail wanders through the woods, notice the blooming morning glory amid oddities like arjan from India, natal plum, and the Tarzan-evoking zulu fig. The footpath can be damp and sticky at times.
Where the trail reaches the park road, cross and turn right to walk along freshwater impoundments back to the parking area to make a 0.5 mile loop. Or, you can turn left and wander around the park on a variety of unmarked trails for up to 2 miles of walking.